Saturday, July 2, 2011

Making Yogurt

We love yogurt and it's so versatile! You can eat it plain, with fruit on it, put it on cereal and cook with it. It makes all kinds of great desserts and it is so good for you!

We use so much of it that we make our own in a 2 litre bucket. It makes quick and easy, much faster than buttermilk, but not easier.
It doesn't make at room temperature like buttermilk does, however, so it has to be heated up and put into a container that will hold the heat long enough (about 8 hours). We ordered our 2 litre bucket yogurt maker from a cheese company in New England many years ago. It's just like the ones that used to be in every home in the 70's and 80's. It is a simple styrofoam cooler, not electric, that the plastic bucket fits in, so it can be made anywhere. I know people who have pur their yogurt containers in other small styrofoam coolers that hold in the heat and covered it wth a warm quilt or blanket. This seems to work and would do in a pinch, if you didn't have an actual "yogurt maker".

We let our yogurt "make" about 8 hours. If you like it less tart, you can take it off earlier.

The thickness of the finished yogurt depends on the milk solids in it. If you want a really solid yogurt, add powdered milk to the milk before putting it in the maker. We used to do this regularly until powdered milk got so expensive. To the 2 litre bucket we make, we added about 1/2 cup of powdered milk. Now that I don't use it, our yogurt is a bit thinner and wetter, but it's still great yogurt. What we make now is similar to many brands of store bought yogurt.

I have discovered that the addition of plain gelatine will help keep it from watering, so now I add about 2 tablespoons of gelatine to the 2 litres of milk when it is very hot and use the hand blender to dissolve it. If you are adding powdered milk to it, the hand blender would be useful too. If you wanted to get creative and you like fruit yogurt, I suppose you could use flavored gelatine, but I have never done so. You can also add sugar, sweetener, jam or fruit to it at this stage. Freezer jam makes great yogurt. It's the sugar and almost fresh fruit all in one.

I use yogurt to start it. I rarely ever buy actual "yogurt starter". Any yogurt will do, as it has the live bacteria culture (acidophilus) in it. I usually make yogurt when there is a little left in the bucket. It doesn't take much (1/2 cup to 2 litres). I spoon it out of the bucket and set it aside, then wash the bucket before making new yogurt in it. I also buy a small plain yogurt when I need to, in order to start a new batch.

Here is a list of what you need to make yogurt: milk to fill your container(s), powdered milk (if using it), gelatine (if using it), thermometer, yogurt starter, and a container/arrangement that will hold the yogurt and hold the heat in for 8 hours.

To make the yogurt, gently heat the milk to 190 degrees F, stirring more or less continuously. Turn off heat. Add the gelatine and powdered milk and blend until dissolved. Cool the milk to 112 degrees F, then add the yogurt starter. If you add to starter to the milk when the milk is still too hot, you will kill the bacteria and it won't make yogurt. If you let it get too cool, it won't make yogurt either. Anywhere around 110-112 degrees going in, with everything added, will make good yogurt. If you don't heat the milk to 190 degrees, you might get yogurt and you might not. It's risky. You might get another bacteria in there that will make something other than yogurt.

Being exact with cleanliness and temperatures is something one gets used to if one makes wine or soap regularly. Making yogurt is much easier ! Try it! Yogurt is so good for you!

Good, solid yogurt without a lot of water.


Carol said...

Looks so yummy! I haven't made yogurt in years. Used to make it all the time when I had kids at home..maybe I'll start making it just for me now :)

icebear said...

I love homemade yogurt. I used to make it every weekend. I need to get back into that habit. Kefir too.

MikeH said...

We ordered our 2 litre bucket yogurt maker from a cheese company in New England many years ago.

Looks like it's still available -

the milk solids in it.

We use soy"milk". It makes quite a thick and creamy yoghurt.

Freezer jam makes great yogurt.

My favourite is rosehip jelly or honey. Just enough to take the edge off but not so much that it's sweet. The flavour is very subtle. Adding black walnuts (after carefully checking for pieces of shell) makes for something sinfully good.

"yogurt starter"

I've heard that you can use the contents of one or two capsules worth of acidophilus. I haven't tried it yet but I plant to on the next batch of yoghurt.


Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

I use just enough sweetener to take the edge off too, but not so much that it's sweet. walnuts would be really good in it! I've tried it with a sprinkle of granola or sunflower seeds or dried impatience gladulifera seed and other crunchies. Delicious!

I'm partial to a little molasses as a sweetener and maple syrup too. Haven't tried honey on it yet. I'll give that a try, as well.

Mike, let me know if you use acidophilus capsules and what the results are! Interesting! Do you make rose hip jelly? I want to use rose hips to make wine this year, with the petals.

I am glad it's still available! They should send me something for advertising for them ;-) lol. I have had the little yogurt makers with the class cups but it's so fiddly and doesn't make as much at one time. We use way too much yogurt to make it in those little things!

Joyful said...

It looks great! I'd like to try these sometime. I need to purchase a bucket for it first.

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

Here is the link to the maker. Mike's link seems to have been cut off. Maybe it's just my screen.

This company is in Canada and they take Paypal! The Yogotherm is 39.99 plus shipping. I don't remember paying that much but, like I said, I got it years ago.

If you order it from them, maybe mention my blog. They might actually send me something for the advertising. Wouldn't that be good customer service!

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

US folks: Here is where I got mine in Maryland. They still have it:

Price: $39.99 here too and they take Paypal, as well!

The Japanese Redneck said...

I wish I had it in me to make my own. Can barely get meals done right now with all the critters and trying to keep horses ridden.